Letters for the Week of October 1, 2014 

Readers sound off on the Oakland Police Department and compassionate healthcare.

Page 2 of 4

As the for Franks case, we corrected the story to note that it was still in the disciplinary process stage and had not yet gone into arbitration when the exculpatory information was withheld from Franks' lawyers.

In terms of your other points, we stand by the accuracy of the story and do not plan to make any other corrections.

Excellent Job

Oakland city government, especially the City Attorney's Office and the Oakland Police Department, is rotten to the core. Nothing any of them say should be believed, and nothing any of them do should surprise anyone who has been paying attention. The Express is pretty much the only newspaper that has been covering this, and it's done an excellent job.

Jan Van Dusen, Oakland


"An Unsafe Move for Kids," News, 9/17

OUSD Building Is Fine

Well, isn't this opaque Oakland at its finest. Sure the RFP [request for proposals] is public, but not much else. What an airtight plan the Oakland Unified School District has hatched to upend Dewey and destroy 1025 2nd Avenue.

Not really. First, this whole scheme is based on the fallacy that 1025 2nd Avenue was irreparably damaged by a water leak. No, only according to OUSD is the building "presumed to be beyond repair." Oakland city code enforcement has not tagged the building for any flood related structural deficiencies. Do OUSD staff know better than our city's structural engineers? I'll let you figure that one out.

Even more interesting is that in 2005 OUSD hired engineers URS Greiner Woodward Clyde to evaluate 1025 2nd Avenue for seismic integrity, and guess what? They declared it a fine candidate for seismic retrofit. How much would the retrofit cost ... $50 million? $100 million? No, just $5 million to bring the entire structure up to seismic code.

Oh, but the water damage? Right, well, let's take the circa-1916 brick and timber Mazda Lamps factory in West Oakland, vacant for twenty-plus years with windows, roof, and sections of wall completely missing. If that structure can be retrofitted and repurposed (for profit), then a weekend's worth of water damage to a 1920s building that survived the Loma-Prieta Earthquake is absolutely not beyond repair.

That's just the tip of the iceberg. Imagine the OUSD emails that must have gone around about getting rid of Dewey High School and why. I hope that all the various groups, from education advocates to historic preservationists, can organize on a common goal of blocking this scheme to rob students of their future and Oakland of its history.

Matt Chambers, Oakland


"When Liberals Take Control of Police," Seven Days, 9/10

It's Not About Liberals or Conservatives

Richmond Police Chief Magnus has been an excellent administrator. The police force has changed radically since his arrival but it has not been an easy adjustment. He was accused of racism by top-ranking officers two years after he arrived. When the charges were vetted in front of a jury, they were dismissed and the accusing officers had to pay for their attorneys. Most of the accusers retired.

As a gay man, he has been present during council meetings when some residents have expressed homophobic beliefs. Chief Magnus knows the community well, and realizes these views are not shared by the community he serves and appears to take these opinions in stride.

In my opinion, the key to his success is community policing, a concept that was being advocated by residents long before the chief or the mayor arrived in Richmond. Two resident activists, the recently deceased Peter Cleveland and his wife Sara, were lobbying Chief Magnus' predecessor, Chief Joseph Samuels, to institute community policing to no avail, but they never gave up the fight. Today, we have a safer community thanks to Chief Magnus, community policing, a more responsive police force, and code enforcement. This is not about liberals or conservatives. It's about a community working together.

Charles T. Smith, Richmond


"The Trouble With Kaiser's Technology," News, 9/10

Nurses, Not Technology

Kaiser is constantly trying to replace nurses with unsafe and unproven technology. Patients need registered nurses who have critical thinking skills because every patient is different and they respond to treatment differently. A computer or algorithm cannot adjust for variations between patients. Most importantly, patients need a registered nurse to act as their voice when Kaiser is not acting in their best interest.

Amy Glass, Manteca

I Fear for My Profession

Technology cannot replace bedside care. The first rule learned in nursing school is "look at the patient." As technology proliferates, time spent at a counter is time taken away from the patient. A computer cannot hold a patient's hand or rub his back. I fear for my profession as my practice morphs from caregiver to data collector.

Pat Tomasello, Vallejo

What About the Patients?

I have worked for ten years as a nurse in the ICU and then Post Operative Recovery and I get to see what the conditions are like on medical surgical floors. The electronic chart — which has some great benefits, like the ability to look at a patients history — is very time consuming to use. I previously did my charting on paper, which allowed me to spend most of my time with my patients, and to easily describe pertinent information along with vital signs.

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